Lawrence Block

Author Lawrence Block

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books by Lawrence Block.  It seems like every third book I read is one that he has written.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like mysteries, and especially series.  Lawrence Block has written over 100 books, and has five mystery series.  He has also written numerous short stories, many of which were published in Playboy magazine!  I’ve read some of his anthologies and think that it is the first time I’ve read something that was originally published in Playboy.  I guess you really can read Playboy just for the articles!

“The Sins of the Fathers” – the first Matthew Scudder book published in 1976

The series that I have read are not particularly erotic – just good, hard-boiled mysteries.  My favorite series is about Matthew Scudder.  There are 18 Matthew Scudder books.  Matthew is a former police detective who resigned when he fired a bullet that ricocheted and killed a young girl.  Through several of the books he sunk into alcoholism, but then joined AA and now stays sober one day at a time.  He works as a unlicensed private investigator – when he feels like it and when a case interests him.  He has a collection of unusual friends.

“A Walk Among the Tombstones” – 10th Matthew Scudder novel and one on which the movie is based

The first Matthew Scudder movie will be coming out this fall with Liam Neeson playing Scudder and I told Tom we are definitely going to see it.  It is called “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” which was the 10th book in the series.  I imagine the movie will draw from the previous books as well.

I like how Lawrence Block develops his characters over time.  Each book moves them along in their lives.  The early Scudder books dealt with the problems he brought on himself by his heavy drinking.  “All the Flowers Are Dying,” written in 2005, has Scudder mostly retired, but still helping out friends when needed.  The two more recent Scudder novels are an anthology of short stories, “The Night and the Music,” and a flashback novel, “A Drop of the Hard Stuff,” that has Scudder recalling an old case.

Lawrence Block is 76 and his production has slowed down in recent years, although he self-published a new book last year and keeps an interesting blog.  He also does writer’s workshops and is accessible and encouraging of other writers.  His goal has been to write stories that interested him, and in the process, he has written many stories that interest others.